By Editor-in-Chief Greta Forslund
Tonight’s school board meeting is hosted in the Timberline library with the proceedings starting at 6 p.m. On the agenda is a presentation from ASB members, an overview of approvals, community comments, a superintendent’s report and comments from student advisors and board members.
6:03 p.m. – Principal Paul Dean is the first speaker of the evening, introducing ASB and their theme for the year, “The Blazer Effect”.
6:06 p.m. – ASB officers Ethan Humphrey, Miles Douglas, Cedric Horsman-Maser, An Ho and Taylor Grantham introduce themselves to the meeting, sharing their school activities and involvement as well as personal facts like their favorite foods.
6:13 p.m. – ASB officers go over their actions so far this year including the Blazer Effect t-shirts, Winter Warmth project, and rooter bus to a state football game. In the future, ASB plans on passing out blankets from the Winter Warmth service project with personal hygiene care packages in downtown Olympia, hosting a schoolwide volleyball tournament, hiding candy around the school for students to find for the holidays, and making valentines for the school in February.
6:19 p.m. – Board members begin to go over required approvals including Bobbie Bitters Scholarship.
6:23 p.m. – The community comment portion of the meeting begins, moving past the comments on agenda items as there were none, to the comments on non-agenda items.
6:24 p.m. – One community member delivers an emotional appeal on the homelessness and poverty issue in Thurston County and NTPS.
6:27 p.m. – A district paraeducator comments on the challenges of her job, inviting board members to consider the behaviors she encounters daily, describing students screaming and touching her as a few of her experiences. She asks, “Where is your [the school board’s] compassion for those of us on the front line?” She describes the profession as a revolving door, with wages not supporting those with the job.
6:32 p.m. – Another paraeducator in the district takes to the microphone describing her experience in the job, emphasizing the importance of reasonable wages for those in her position. “It feels like the… staff that I have sit at the precipice of economic disaster,” she said.
6:36 p.m. – Superintendent Dr. Debra Clemens begins the superintendent’s report portion of the meeting.
6:38 p.m. – Karen Johnson reviews plans made last spring to add AP, CTE dual credit and College in the High School options to schools to earn high school and college credit simultaneously. This is a part of Outcome D of the Continuous Growth plan- Increased participation in accelerated, higher level and specialized course options. The high schools have seen an increase in dual credit sections from 64 in the 2017-2018 year to 71 in the 2018-2019 year.
6:42 p.m. – Brad Hooper discusses the increase in CTE Dual Credit courses, emphasizing the increase in courses at River Ridge High School. One CTE Dual Credit class was lost at North Thurston High School over the transition from last school year to this year. Over all the high schools, the total sections offered in the district increased from 40 in the ’17-’18 year to 45 in the ’18-’19 year, the most being offered at NTHS, with 29 sections this year. RRHS has six sections this year and Timberline has 10.
6:48 p.m. – Joyce Mackiewicz shares information on the increase in College in the High School courses this year, crediting much of the increase to Vicky Lamroreaux’ efforts. College in the High School courses are taught in high schools by high school teachers with college course-aligned curriculum. In the program, NTPS covers the cost of course fees for low income and homeless students using grant funding. THS, NTHS and RRHS each currently offer five College in the High School courses.
6:58 p.m. – Board members share their excitement over the expansion in College in the High School and other dual credit options this year, commending the speakers on their efforts. Student advisors Matthew Jenkins and Sophia Davies-Ahmed share their experiences in dual credit classes. “I think [dual courses are] a great opportunity… I’ve found that there’s almost a new student culture of students who [wouldn’t normally take] AP classes and are [now] taking them because their friends are taking them which is really cool,” said Davies-Ahmed.
7:04 p.m. – The enrollment and financial update for November 2018 is shared.
7:08 p.m. – The election of President and Vice President is discussed and nominations are made. Vice President David Newkirk is nominated for School Board President by Board Director Chuck Namit and is elected on unanimous vote by the board. Board Director Gretchen Maliska nominates Board Director Melissa Hartley for School Board Vice President and is elected on unanimous vote by the board. The board members move to new seats according their new positions on the board. Newkirk moves forward with the meeting as new President.
7:12 p.m. – Student advisor Davies-Ahmed discusses concerts at elementary and secondary levels, saying that music is an important element on the district level, standing by the idea of beginning musical education before fifth grade as an orchestra student since fifth grade herself. Student advisor Jenkins speaks on the successful winter blood drive at RRHS, clothing drives at the school and clubs organizing activities to promote holiday spirit.
7:17 p.m. – Board members share comments on Board Community Participation in Relation to the Strategic Plan. Board Director Gretchen Maliska discusses her observations of high school robotics competitions, emphasizing how impressed she was by the work done by the competitors. Board Director Chuck Namit talks about the “race to graduation” where the rest of the year from December seems to fly by, sharing his excitement for the rest of the year.
7:25 p.m. – The meeting adjourns.